Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Wednesday 12th March 2014
Racing UK
Rathvinden to Lead the Charge on Day Two

What a day. Cheltenham never fails to provide the drama, emotion, the heartache and on Tuesday we witnessed history courtesy of Quevega.  What an extraordinary feat by trainer, jockey and, most of all, the horse herself. 

There were quotes thrust in my hand after the race for her to do the unthinkable and land a seventh OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. As my colleague Brian Gleeson said, who would bet against her!

What an exhilarating finish to the Champion Hurdle; my knuckles were white and my fingers tightly crossed but it still didn’t get My Tent Or Yours home.  

Congratulations to JP McManus. What an enormous thrill to have a one-two in the Champion Hurdle, although all my thoughts are with Dessie Hughes and Barry Connell after the sad loss of Our Conor. 

How impressive was Vautour?  I thought it was disappointing to see Irving run no sort of race. The queues to the bookmakers were long after the Supreme, with an ominous feel that it could be a rout for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh this week. 

Bookmakers must have been printing the payout slips for Champagne Fever in the Arkle, only for Western Warhorse to provide them with a massive ‘get out of jail card’! 

On to Wednesday, and will my faith in Rathvinden be rewarded?  He could thrive on this sounder surface - he conceded weight to Red Sherlock when last they met and I think the form will be reversed. The quickening surface may not suit favourite Faugheen.

As for the RSA Chase its Carlingford Lough for me - he showed all the qualities you need to win this stamina test. He’s not flashy but he does get the job done. 

On to one of my favourite races of the Festival - the Coral Cup. I’ve always managed to get a place in this race; Joss Naylor, Orsippus and this year the hard-earned is being placed on Meister Eckhart after his bold showing in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. Add to that the fact he did finish second in the race 12 months ago.

I hope Sire De Grugy wins the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase, yet I suspect as I write this the bookmakers will continue to oppose him.

He deserves to win after all he has achieved this season and would be a worthy champion.

Then with the ground drying rapidly it has to suit Balthazar King - here’s hoping he can regain his crown of 2012.

Betbright £30 Matched Bet

Tanya’s Wednesday Cheltenham tips:

1.30 Cheltenham: Rathvinden at 6-1 with BetVictor

2.05 Cheltenham: Carlingford Lough at 8-1 with BetVictor

2.40 Cheltenham: Meister Eckhart at 20-1 with Paddy Power

4.00 Cheltenham: Balthazar King at 6-1 with BetVictor

Tanya’s big-race pointers:

Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle:

Twenty-three of the last 26 winners had run at least three times over hurdles

Challow Hurdle winners are 0 from 14 – this year Captain Cutter tries to buck that statistic.

Twenty-eight of the last 29 winners finished either first or second last time out.

Since 1996 22 horses have worn some sort of headgear or been tongue tied, none have managed to even reach the frame.

Only one horse older than six has won since 1974 and over 109 have tried – Royal Boy and Captain Cutter try to defy this statistic.

AP McCoy has had 15 rides without a win in the race with his best finish being second in 1998 & 2009.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has had a winner, a third and two fourths since 1999.

Ireland have had four of the last ten winners.

Favourites have won 14 of the 41 runnings.

The longest-priced winner was Even Dawn in 1972 at 40-1.

The shortest-priced winner was Mr Kildare at 8-11 in 1978.

Irish challengers have won 16 of the 41 runnings.

Eight of the last ten winners came from the first four in the betting.

RSA Chase:

Thirty three of the past 37 winners finished first or second last time out

Just two six-year-olds have won since 1978.

Eight of the last ten winners were aged seven.

Willie Mullins has trained three winners and two seconds since 1998.

Seven of Willie Mullins 15 runners in the race have failed to finish.

The average winning distance is seven and a half lengths since 1999.

Since 2000 Ruby Walsh has ridden a second and won in 2007 & 2009.

Since 1997 AP McCoy has had a winner in 2008, three seconds and two thirds.

All of the 18 Kauto Star Novice Chase winners at Kempton have been beaten.

All of the last 50 winners had run in the same calendar year.

Three of the last four winners had run in the Albert Bartlett the previous year.

Only 18 of the 69 favourites have won.

The biggest priced winners are Canny Danny in 1983 and Hussard Collonges in 2002, both at 33-1

Coral Cup:

Seven of the last ten finished first or second last time out

There has been only one winning favourite and one joint favourite in all 20 runnings

Only five of the 20 winners carried more than 11 stone.

Since 1996 24 horses aged 10 or more have run with only a second and third placing.

Since 1996 over a hundred horses have worn headgear and only nine have reached the frame. (0 from 10 in 2013)

AP McCoy has ridden seven Coral Cup favourites (joint or otherwise) and all have been beaten

AP McCoy’s last 14 rides have all been beaten, and his best finish was second in 1997 & 2012

Since 2003 Richard Johnson has ridden a fourth, three thirds, and won in 2004

Irish challengers have won seven of the 20 runnings

Bet Victor Queen Mother Champion Chase:

All of the last 13 Arkle Chase winners to run in the Champion Chase have finished in the first three, seven have won.

Twenty of last 26 (75% since 1985) winners had been placed at worse at previous Cheltenham Festivals.

Seven of the last 10 winners had won on their last start.

Master Minded was the first of ten reigning champions to regain his crown.

Twenty-six of the last 30 winners started at a single-figure price.

There has been one win for a horse aged older than ten since 1977.

Nine of the last 11 winners ran in the Tingle Creek Chase.

Since 1960 only five of the 17 odds-on favourites to run in the Champion Chase have won.

Since 1999 Paul Nicholls has been represented by one or more runner on twelve occasions, he has won four times and had three thirds.

AP McCoy has won in 2000 on Edredon Bleu, plus has finished second four times and third once.

Sizing Europe is having his fourth run in the Champion Chase. He won in 2011 and finished runner-up in 2012 & 2013

Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase:

From 36 possible places Enda Bolger runners have filled twelve of them.

Enda Bolger has trained four of the nine winners of the race.

Eight of the nine winners were trained in Ireland.

JP McManus has owned four of the last nine winners.

Only two of the victors have had a starting price bigger than 13-2.

Nina Carberry has ridden three winners, a second and a third.

Cross-Country debutants have won just one of the last 30 races over these fences.

Only two of the 83 horses aged under eight have won.

Seven of the last nine winners came from the first three in the betting, yet only two favourites have won.